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This is a timeline of major events in the History of Jerusalem; a city that had been fought over sixteen times in its history. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
4500-3500 BCE: First settlement established near Gihon Spring (earliest archaeological evidence).
Jerusalem becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Judah and, according to the Bible, for the first few decades even of a wider united kingdom of Judah and Israel, under kings belonging to the House of David.
c. 830 BCE: Hazael of Aram Damascus conquers most of Canaan. According to the Bible, Jehoash of Judah gave all of Jerusalem's treasures as a tribute, but Hazael proceeded to destroy "all the princes of the people" in the city.
c. 712 BCE: The Siloam Tunnel is built in order to keep water from the Gihon Spring inside the city. According to the Bible the tunnel was built by King Hezekiah in preparation for a siege by the Assyrians, along with an expansion of Jerusalem's fortifications across the Tyropoeon Valley to enclose the hill today known as Mount Zion.
365/364-362 and c. 347 BCE: Judea participates in Egyptian-inspired and Sidonian-led revolts against the Achaemenids, and coins minted in Jerusalem are reflecting the short-lived autonomy. Achaemenid general Bagoas is possibly the same as 'Bagoses' form Josephus' Antiquities, who defiles the Temple and imposes taxes on sacrifices performed there.
Kingdoms of the Diadochi and others before the battle of Ipsus, c. 303 BCE
312 BCE: Jerusalem is re-captured by Ptolemy I Soter after he defeats Antigonus' son Demetrius I at the Battle of Gaza. It is probable that Seleucus I Nicator, then an Admiral under Ptolemy's command, also took part in the battle, as following the battle he was given 800 infantry and 200 cavalry and immediately travelled to Babylon where he founded the Seleucid Empire.
311 BCE: The Antigonid dynasty regains control of the city after Ptolemy withdraws from Syria again following a minor defeat by Antigonus I Monophthalmus, and a peace treaty is concluded.
302 BCE: Ptolemy invades Syria for a third time, but evacuated again shortly thereafter following false news of a victory for Antigonus against Lysimachus (another of the Diadochi).
301 BCE: Coele-Syria (Southern Syria) including Jerusalem is re-captured by Ptolemy I Soter after Antigonus I Monophthalmus is killed at the Battle of Ipsus. Ptolemy had not taken part in the battle, and the victors Seleucus I Nicator and Lysimachus had carved up the Antigonid Empire between them, with Southern Syria intended to become part of the Seleucid Empire. Although Seleucus did not attempt to conquer the area he was due, Ptolemy's pre-emptive move led to the Syrian Wars which began in 274 BC between the successors of the two leaders.
175 BCE: Antiochus IV Epiphanes succeeds his father and becomes King of the Seleucid Empire. He accelerates Seleucid efforts to eradicate the Jewish religion by forcing the Jewish High Priest Onias III to step down in favour of his brother Jason, who was replaced by Menelaus three years later. He outlaws Sabbath and circumcision, sacks Jerusalem and erects an altar to Zeus in the Second Temple after plundering it.
110 BCE: John Hyrcanus carries out the first military conquests of the independent Hasmonean kingdom, raising a mercenary army to capture Madaba and Schechem, significantly increasing the regional influence of Jerusalem.
73-63 BCE: The Roman Republic extends its influence into the region in the Third Mithridatic War. During the war, Armenian King Tigranes the Great takes control of Syria and prepares to invade Judea and Jerusalem but has to retreat following an invasion of Armenia by Lucullus. However, this period is believed to have resulted in the first settlement of Armenians in Jerusalem. According to Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi writing in c. 482 CE, Tigranes captured Jerusalem and deported Hyrcanus to Armenia, however most scholars deem this account to be incorrect.
Events from the New Testament (Canonical Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles -Pauline and Catholic- and the Book of Revelation) offer a narrative regarded by most Christians as Holy Scripture. Much of the narrative lacks historical anchors and Christian apologists have tried to calculate a historical chronology of events without reaching consensual conclusions. All such events and dates listed here are presented under this reservation, and are generally lacking non-sectarian scholarly recognition. They are marked in the list with a cross [+].
363: The Galilee earthquake of 363 together with the re-establishment of Christianity's dominance following the death of Julian the Apostate at the Battle of Samarra ends attempts to build a third Temple in Jerusalem.
744-750: Riots in Jerusalem and other major Syrian cities during the reign of Marwan II, quelled in 745-46. The Umayyad army is subsequently defeated in 750 at the Battle of the Zab by the Abbasids, who take control of the entire empire including Jerusalem. Marwan II flees via Jerusalem but is assassinated in Egypt.
946: Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid dies. Abu al-Misk Kafur becomes de facto ruler of the Ikhshidid lands.
951-978: Estakhri, Traditions of Countries and Ibn Hawqal, The Face of the Earth write of Jund Filistin: "Its capital and largest town is Ramla, but the Holy City of Jerusalem comes very near this last in size", and of Jerusalem: "It is a city perched high on the hills: and you have to go up to it from all sides. In all Jerusalem there is no running water, excepting what comes from springs, that can be used to irrigate the fields, and yet it is the most fertile portion of Filastin."
966: Al-Muqaddasi leaves Jerusalem to begin his 20-year geographical study, writing in detail about Jerusalem in his Description of Syria, Including Palestine
1030: Caliph Ali az-Zahir authorizes the rebuilding of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other Christian churches in a treaty with Byzantine Emperor Romanos III Argyros.
1042: Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos pays for the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, authorized by Caliph Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah. Al-Mustansir authorizes a number of other Christian buildings, including the Muristan hospital, church and monastery built by a group of Amalfian merchants in c. 1050.
1077: Jerusalem revolts against the rule of Atsiz while he is fighting the Fatimid Empire in Egypt. On his return to Jerusalem, Atsiz retakes the city and massacres the local population. Not long after, Atsiz is executed by Tutush I, governor of Syria under his brother, Seljuk leader Malik-Shah I. Tutush I appoints Artuq bin Ekseb, later founder of the Artuqid dynasty, as governor.
1091-1095: Artuq bin Ekseb dies in 1091, and is succeeded as governor by his sons Ilghazi and Sokmen. Malik Shah dies in 1092, and the Seljuk Empire splits into smaller warring states. Control of Jerusalem is disputed between Duqaq and Radwan after the death of their father Tutush I in 1095. The ongoing rivalry weakens Syria.
1131: Melisende became Queen of Jerusalem, later acting as regent for her son between 1153 and 1161 while he was on campaign. She was the eldest daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, and the Armenian princess Morphia of Melitene.
1160: According to Benjamin of Tudela, messianic claimant David Alroy called his followers in Baghdad to join him on a mission to Jerusalem.
1170-1184: William of Tyre writes his magnum opus Historia Hierosolymitana.
Ayyubids and Second Crusader Kingdom
The Crusader defeat at the Battle of Hattin leads to the end of the First Crusader Kingdom (1099-1187). During the Second Crusader Kingdom (1192-1291), the Crusaders can only gain a foothold in Jerusalem on a limited scale, twice through treaties (access rights in 1192 after the Treaty of Jaffa; partial control 1229-39 after the Treaty of Jaffa and Tell Ajul), and again for a last time between 1241 and 1244.
1193: Mosque of Omar built under Saladin outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, commemorating Umar the Great's decision to pray outside the church so as not to set a precedent and thereby endanger the Church's status as a Christian site.
1229-1244: From 1229 to 1244, Jerusalem peacefully reverted to Christian control as a result of a 1229 Treaty agreed between the crusading Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and al-Kamil, the Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt, that ended the Sixth Crusade. The Ayyubids retained control of the Muslim holy places, and Arab sources suggest that Frederick was not permitted to restore Jerusalem's fortifications.
1239: An-Nasir Dawud, Ayyubid Emir of Kerak, briefly occupies the city and destroys its fortifications before withdrawing to Kerak.
1240-1244: An-Nasir Dawud competes with his cousin As-Salih Ayyub, who had allied with the Crusaders, for control of the region.
1244: Siege of Jerusalem (1244) - In order to permanently retake the city from rival breakaway Abbasid rulers who had allied with the Crusaders, As-Salih Ayyub summoned a huge mercenary army of Khwarezmians, who were available for hire following the defeat of the Khwarazm Shah dynasty by the Mongols ten years earlier. The Khwarezmians could not be controlled by As-Salih Ayyub, and destroyed the city. A few months later, the two sides met again at the decisive Battle of La Forbie, marking the end of the Crusader influence in the region.
1267: Nachmanides goes to Jerusalem and prays at the Western Wall. Reported to have found only two Jewish families in the city.
1300: Further Mongol raids into Palestine under Ghazan and Mulay. Jerusalem held by the Mongols for four months (see Ninth Crusade). Hetham II, King of Armenia, was allied to the Mongols and is reported to have visited Jerusalem where he donated his sceptre to the Armenian Cathedral.
1482: The visiting Dominican priest Felix Fabri described Jerusalem as "a collection of all manner of abominations". As "abominations" he listed Saracens, Greeks, Syrians, Jacobites, Abyssinians, Nestorians, Armenians, Gregorians, Maronites, Turcomans, Bedouins, Assassins, a sect possibly Druzes, Mamelukes, and "the most accursed of all", Jews. Only the Latin Christians "long with all their hearts for Christian princes to come and subject all the country to the authority of the Church of Rome".
1624: Following the Battle of Anjar, Druze prince Fakhr-al-Din II is appointed the "Emir of Arabistan" by the Ottomans to govern the region from Aleppo to Jerusalem. He toured his new provinces in the same year.
1853-1854: Under military and financial pressure from Napoleon III, Sultan Abdulmecid I accepts a treaty confirming France and the Roman Catholic Church as the supreme authority in the Holy Land with control over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This decision contravened the 1774 treaty with Russia, and led to the Crimean War.
1868: Mahane Israel becomes the second Jewish neighbourhood outside the walls after it was built by Maghrebi Jews from the Old City.
1869: Nahalat Shiv'a becomes the third Jewish neighbourhood outside the walls, built as a cooperative effort.
1872: Beit David becomes the fourth Jewish neighbourhood outside the walls, built as an almshouse.
1873-1875: Mea She'arim is built (the fifth Jewish neighbourhood outside the walls).
1877: Jerusalem representative Yousef al-Khalidi is appointed President of the Chamber of Deputies in the short-lived first Ottoman parliament following the accession of Abdul Hamid II and the declaration of the Kanun-? Esasî.
1887-1888: Ottoman Palestine divided into the districts of Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre--Jerusalem District is "autonomous", i.e. attached directly to Istanbul.
1897: First Zionist Congress at which Jerusalem was discussed as the possible capital of a future Jewish state. In response, Abdul Hamid II initiates policy of sending members of his own palace staff to govern province of Jerusalem.
^Crouch, C. L. (1 October 2014). Israel and the Assyrians: Deuteronomy, the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon, and the Nature of Subversion. SBL Press. ISBN978-1-62837-026-3. Judah's reason(s) for submitting to Assyrian hegemony, at least superficially, require explanation, while at the same time indications of its read-but-disguised resistance to Assyria must be uncovered... The political and military sprawl of the Assyrian empire during the late Iron Age in the southern Levant, especially toward its outer borders, is not quite akin to the single dominating hegemony envisioned by most discussions of hegemony and subversion. In the case of Judah it should be reiterated that Judah was always a vassal state, semi-autonomous and on the periphery of the imperial system, it was never a fully-integrated provincial territory. The implications of this distinction for Judah's relationship with and experience of the Assyrian empire should not be underestimated; studies of the expression of Assyria's cultural and political powers in its provincial territories and vassal states have revealed notable differences in the degree of active involvement in different types of territories. Indeed, the mechanics of the Assyrian empire were hardly designed for direct control over all its vassals' internal activities, provided that a vassal produced the requisite tribute and did not provoke trouble among its neighbors, the level of direct involvement from Assyria remained relatively low. For the entirety of its experience of the Assyrian empire, Judah functioned as a vassal state, rather than a province under direct Assyrian rule, thereby preserving at least a certain degree of autonomy, especially in its internal affairs. Meanwhile, the general atmosphere of Pax Assyriaca in the southern Levant minimized the necessity of (and opportunities for) external conflict. That Assyrians, at least in small numbers, were present in Judah is likely - probably a qipu and his entourage who, if the recent excavators of Ramat Rahel are correct, perhaps resided just outside the capital - but there is far less evidence than is commonly assumed to suggest that these left a direct impression of Assyria on this small vassal state... The point here is that, despite the wider context of Assyria's political and economic power in the ancient Near East in general and the southern Levant in particular, Judah remained a distinguishable and semi-independent southern Levantine state, part of but not subsumed by the Assyrian empire and, indeed, benefitting from it in significant ways.
^http://studentreader.com/jerusalem/#Edict-of-Cyrus Student Reader Jerusalem: "When Cyrus captured Babylon, he immediately issued the Edict of Cyrus, a decree that those who had been exiled by the Babylonians could return to their homelands and start rebuilding."
^Richard Gottheil, Gotthard Deutsch, Martin A. Meyer, Joseph Jacobs, M. Franco (1906). "Jerusalem". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020 – via JewishEncyclopedia.com.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
^Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, Chapter 7. William Whiston edition, London 1737. Accessed 23 September 2020.
^"And when he had ordained five councils (), he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee." Josephus, Ant. xiv 54:
^"Josephus uses for the first time in connection with the decree of the Roman governor of Syria, Gabinius (57 BCE), who abolished the constitution and the then existing form of government of Palestine and divided the country into five provinces, at the head of each of which a sanhedrin was placed ("Ant." xiv 5, § 4)." via Jewish Encyclopedia: Sanhedrin:
^H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, pp. 247-248: "Consequently, the province of Judea may be regarded as a satellite of Syria, though, in view of the measure of independence left to its governor in domestic affairs, it would be wrong to say that in the Julio-Claudian era Judea was legally part of the province of Syria."
^A History of the Jewish People, H.H. Ben-Sasson editor, 1976, p. 247: "When Judea was converted into a Roman province [in 6 CE, p. 246], Jerusalem ceased to be the administrative capital of the country. The Romans moved the governmental residence and military headquarters to Caesarea. The centre of government was thus removed from Jerusalem, and the administration became increasingly based on inhabitants of the Hellenistic cities (Sebaste, Caesarea and others)."
^John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew, vol. 1, ch. 11; also H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN0-674-39731-2, p. 251: "But after the first agitation (which occurred in the wake of the first Roman census) had faded out, we no longer hear of bloodshed in Judea until the days of Pilate."
^H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN0-674-39731-2, The Crisis Under Gaius Caligula, pp. 254-256: "The reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41) witnessed the first open break between the Jews and the Julio-Claudian empire. Until then--if one accepts Sejanus' heyday and the trouble caused by the census after Archelaus' banishment--there was usually an atmosphere of understanding between the Jews and the empire ... These relations deteriorated seriously during Caligula's reign, and, though after his death the peace was outwardly re-established, considerable bitterness remained on both sides. ... Caligula ordered that a golden statue of himself be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Only Caligula's death, at the hands of Roman conspirators (41), prevented the outbreak of a Jewish-Roman war that might well have spread to the entire East."
^Christopher Mackay. "Ancient Rome a Military and Political History" 2007: 230
^Schaff's Seven Ecumenical Councils: First Nicaea: Canon VII: "Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Aelia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honored, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honor."; "It is very hard to determine just what was the "precedence" granted to the Bishop of Aelia, nor is it clear which is the "metropolis" referred to in the last clause. Most writers, including Hefele, Balsamon, Aristenus and Beveridge William Beveridge?] consider it to be Cæsarea; while Zonaras thinks Jerusalem to be intended, a view recently adopted and defended by Fuchs; others again suppose it is Antioch that is referred to."
^Browning, Robert. 1978. The Emperor Julian. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, p. 176. ISBN0-520-03731-6
^Horn, Cornelia B.; Robert R. Phenix, Jr. 2008. The Lives of Peter the Iberian, Theodosius of Jerusalem, and the Monk Romanus. Atlanta, Georgia: Society of Biblical Literature, p. lxxxviii. ISBN978-1-58983-200-8
^Singh, Nagendra. 2002. "International Encyclopedia of Islamic Dynasties"'
^Bosworth, Clifford Edmund. 2007. Historic Cities of the Islamic World
^Runciman, Steven. 1951. A History of the Crusades: Volume 1 The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 279-290. ISBN0-521-06161-X
^Larry H. Addington (1990). The Patterns of War Through the Eighteenth Century. Midland book. Indiana University Press. p. 59. ISBN9780253205513. ... in the Sixth Crusade, Frederick II ...concluded a treaty with the Saracens in 1229 that placed Jerusalem under Christian control but allowed Muslim and Christian alike freedom of access to the religious shrines of the city. ... Within fifteen years of Frederick's departure from the Holy Land, the Khwarisimian Turks, successors to the Seljuks, rampaged through Syria and Palestine, capturing Jerusalem in 1244. (Jerusalem would not be ruled again by Christians until the British occupied it in December 1917, during World War I.)
^"Christians in the Holy Land" Edited by Michael Prior and William Taylor. ISBN0-905035-32-1. p. 104: Albert Aghazarian "The significance of Jerusalem to Christians". This writer states that "Jews did not own any more than 20% of this quarter" prior to 1948